West Dean College of Arts and Conservation


West Dean College of Arts and Conservation


Benefit from an international reputation for excellence in conservation and arts education
West Dean College of Arts and Conservation is formally affiliated with the University of Sussex. Study options range from Graduate Diploma through to Master’s level. You can expect an immersive environment, a forward-thinking approach, and a rich heritage of creativity.

Open Days

See the workshops alive with current projects, and discover the facilities and equipment. You can join an informal talk by our programme leaders, or explore the studios and workshops at your leisure. Tour the student accommodation, specialist art and conservation library, and meet students to find out about student life.

Register your details here to attend an Open Day.

Postgraduate Loans
If you are a UK student and plan to take a postgraduate Master's course you may be able to get a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 to help with course fees and living costs.

School of Conservation
View the School of Conservation 2019/20 Prospectus.

Our conservation graduates are among the most sought-after in their field.

Access exciting projects, develop your skills, collaborate across disciplines and gain a qualification to further your employment opportunities.

MA Conservation Studies offers you the chance to specialise in:

  • Books and Library Materials
  • Ceramics and Related Materials
  • Clocks and Related Objects
  • Furniture and Related Objects
  • Metalwork.

MA Collections Care and Conservation Management gives you the flexibility of part-time study in the historic house environment of the College.

Our School of Conservation provides:

  • Practical hands-on skills and object-based treatments
  • Tutors with extensive and varied experience
  • Low student to tutor ratio
  • Access to historic artefacts from the public and private sectors
  • Expert visiting lecturers from public and private institutions
  • Masterclasses from international experts
  • Fully-equipped studios with dedicated equipment and workspaces
  • Visits to leading studios, workshops and collections within your discipline
  • An ethical approach informed by national and international practice
  • Skills to write reports on objects, their condition and conservation treatments
  • Theoretical, scientific and analytical study of artefacts and materials
  • Historical research and interpretation of the objects you work on
  • Access to an analytical laboratory
  • Most students undertake work placements within museums or businesses.

School of Arts
View the School of Arts 2019/20 Prospectus.

Explore and expand your work in a unique environment with its own connections to art history through the legacy of college founder Edward James, patron of the Surrealist Movement. It is an inspirational setting conducive to focused study and innovative practice.

MFA (Master of Fine Art) a two-year full-time programme designed to further advance your specialist studio practice.

Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts offers you a route into postgraduate study.

Across both programmes, you may explore interdisciplinary study or chose to specialise in Painting and Drawing, Sculpture or Tapestry and Textile Art.

Develop your writing with our MA Creative Writing and Publishing (part-time) taught by published authors and offering hands-on publishing experience.

You can expect:

  • Exceptional studio space
  • Visiting lecturers in specialist subjects and an artist-in-residence programme
  • To exhibit and display your work in various contexts (Fine Arts students)
  • An interdisciplinary approach
  • Technical support and specialist Art and Conservation library
  • An excellent student to tutor ratio

School of Conservation
School of Arts

Please can you run this student case study (text below and image attached) for Conservation Studies, of interest to students searching Museum Studies, History, Heritage, Science, Craft and Conservation:

Student Case Study
“A key role in my decision to study at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation was itsworldwide reputation and the fact that it is the only place to specialise in the conservation of ceramics.

Highlights of my studies here include the study visit to Southampton Archaeological unit. Accessing the archaeological material from the collection helped me to carefully observe the diversity of the ceramic fabric through microscopes that couldn’t otherwise be possible.

Another highlight of my experience here is having access to the in-house science lab and tailored science lectures. I learnt about sampling techniques, and I have been carrying out Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy analysis to identify unknown materials deposited on ceramic surfaces.

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation provides a rich and stimulating learning environment, and studying here has certainly boosted my confidence and is developing my skills and knowledge.

Upon completion of my studies, I will look for internships to gain more experience. I would like to work in interdisciplinary fields within the cultural heritage sector and to be involved in research and publication.” 
Andriani Maimaridou
Graduate Diploma, Conservation of Ceramics

Note: Students from Humanities and Science backgrounds can pursue the MA Conservation Studies through the Graduate Diploma, with a choice of pathway: Ceramics, Books, Metalwork, Furniture or Clocks.




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